Saturday, March 11, 2006


"Due Process" Rights in Bizarroland

Compare and contrast:
Judge Issues Secret Ruling in Case of 2 at Mosque
New York Times, March 11, 2006
A federal judge issued a highly unusual classified ruling yesterday, denying a motion for dismissal of a case against two leaders of an Albany mosque who are accused of laundering money in a federal terrorism sting operation.

Because the ruling was classified, the defense lawyers were barred from reading why the judge decided that way.

On the other hand, if you're a former minion of Deadeye Dick Cheney:
Judge Tries Compromise on Briefs Libby Is Seeking
New York Times, March 11, 2006
WASHINGTON, March 10 β€” A federal judge ruled on Friday that I. Lewis Libby Jr. was entitled to review a limited amount of information from highly classified intelligence documents in order to defend himself against charges that he lied about his role in disclosing the identity of a C.I.A. operative.

Confronted with a legal issue that has the potential to sabotage the prosecution of Mr. Libby, the judge, Reggie B. Walton, sought a compromise to allow the case to go forward.
Theodore V. Wells Jr., his chief defense lawyer, argued that Mr. Libby needed the President's Daily Briefs to refresh his memory and to add substance to his argument that he was "so focused on urgent national security matters, it is hardly surprising that he would later confuse, forget or misremember" conversations with reporters about Ms. Wilson.
To recap, Scooter Libby's defense team has the right to view documents only marginally releted to his alleged crime - but Yassin Aref's defense team cannot view critical evidence against their client's alleged crimes.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Live By Racial Profiling...

W and his Bush League minions have discovered they can't both fan people's fears of Muslims in general while simultaneously claiming that rich Muslims are trustworthy. So, they're going to Bush League playbook page 2 - the public concession that later turns out to be illusory:
Dubai firm pledges to transfer US ports
Thu Mar 9, 2006 9:47 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The state-owned Arab company Dubai Ports World pledged on Thursday to transfer operation of six U.S. port terminals to a U.S. entity, a move the White House said should settle a political firestorm surrounding the deal. But the U.S. Congress was skeptical.

Many lawmakers have demanded that the Dubai company be stopped from running the ports because of potential security risks, rebelling against President George W. Bush, whose administration approved the company's involvement in January.

"It does provide a way forward and resolve the matter ...," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said of the company's announcement.

The statement by Dubai Ports World's chief operating officer, Edward Bilkey, said that the company had decided to "transfer fully ... to a U.S. entity" the operation of North American ports terminals it had acquired from British-based
It currently sounds like Congress isn't going to fall for it this time:
"To simply say that the U.S. entity will be separate isn't enough. How will it be separate? How thick is the wall?" demanded New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer.

The company announcement is not clear enough, said Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the Middle East subcommittee of the House International Relations panel.

"Is the ports deal dead? Will the U.S. entity be a mere shell company?" she asked. "Current congressional plans are to move forward with the appropriations language next week which kills the transaction. Just to make sure."

One House Republican leadership aide said on Thursday that because of the company's announcement, there could be a motion to strike the language reversing the deal in the House next week -- but noted that this would still require a vote.
My prediction is that the Republican whitewashers will cave in, and the deal will proceed. The interesting thing will be whether the U.S. subsidiary is required to store its records in the U.S., where they fall within the jurisdiction of our courts. One of the big untold stories behind this deal was how the Dubai company was going to be allowed to keep its business records offshore - well hidden from those pesky trial lawyers. Hard to prove laws were knowingly violated by a Dubai government-owned company if all the records are stored in Dubai...

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Now 1 Days Since Violating Federal Law

I'm sure the Republicans in Congress will immediately start a wide-ranging investigation into how this could possibly happen have been reported:
Justice Dept. Report Cites F.B.I. Violations
Published: March 9, 2006
WASHINGTON, March 8 β€” The Federal Bureau of Investigation found apparent violations of its own wiretapping and other intelligence-gathering procedures more than 100 times in the last two years, and problems appear to have grown more frequent in some crucial respects, a Justice Department report released Wednesday said.
(Source: New York Times)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Tom Sawyer, Eat your Heart Out

When it comes to talking folks into whitewashing something, nlobody does it better than W and his Bush League minions:
Senate Panel Blocks Eavesdropping Probe
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 8, 2006; Page A03

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted along party lines yesterday to reject a Democratic proposal to investigate the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program and instead approved establishing, with White House approval, a seven-member panel to oversee the effort.

Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told reporters after the closed session that he had asked the committee "to reject confrontation in favor of accommodation" and that the new subcommittee, which he described as "an accommodation with the White House," would "conduct oversight of the terrorist surveillance program." The program, which became public in December, has allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between U.S. residents and suspected terrorists abroad without first obtaining warrants from a secret court that handles such matters.

The panel's vice chairman, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), took a sharply different view of yesterday's outcome. "The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House through its chairman," he told reporters. "At the direction of the White House, the Republican majority has voted down my motion to have a careful and fact-based review of the National Security Agency's surveillance eavesdropping activities inside the United States."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Oscars Honor Karl Rove

Yes, the Best Song Award to It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp was an obvious homage to Karl Rove. After all, Mr. Rove makes his living convincing people to let Bush screw them...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Was Pat Tillman Hunting Quail?

The New York Times reports that the Defense Department is opening a criminal investigation into the "friendly fire" death of Cpl. Pat Tillman. Here's the bit that caught my eye:
Col. Joseph Curtin, an Army spokesman, said that the scope of the new inquiry had yet to be defined but that investigators would look at whether the soldiers violated military law when they failed to identify their targets before opening fire on his position.
(Source: New York Times Army Ordered to Look Again at Battle Death, March 5, 2006 [emphasis added.])
Dick Cheney didn't identify his target before opening fire, and he wasn't even in a combat zone. Why prosecute grunt-level soldiers for the same type of mistake made by the Vice President of the United States? Is this yet another Bush League double-standard - the "It's OK for Rich White Guys to be Careless With Guns" rule for Deadeye Dick versus the "relentlessly prosecute any enlisted personnel generating unfavorable news stories" standard for folks actually putting their lives on the line?

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